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Foreign Transaction Fees
Old 08-17-2017, 04:38 PM   #1
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Foreign Transaction Fees

Booked a bunch of travel with the Costco Citi Visa since it has 3% cash back for travel. They took it back with an offsetting 3% FTF fee. Just a heads up. I should have read the fine print.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:54 PM   #2
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I use Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard for travel, but it is not available anymore. For airline tickets, there is PenFed Premium Travel Rewards AmEx. It does not have annual fee or foreign transaction fee. For other payments abroad, PenFed Power Cash Back Visa is one of the best.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:03 PM   #3
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I use Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard for travel, but it is not available anymore. .

Yep, I used it for an overseas project and it saved me a few bucks
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:16 PM   #4
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Yes, fine print is very important! I recently discovered that not all cards are equal in their coverage of rental car insurance. One of my cards, for example specifically excluded rentals in Italy, and another Ireland (i can sort of understand Italy as drivers are crazy aggressive there), but no idea why Ireland was blacklisted by one of the cards.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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We use an Amazon Visa which gives spot exchange rates for almost all of the world's currencies. Those it doesn't, you probably won't want to be visiting. It does charge $5 or 1% fee on ATM withdrawals (whichever is more) in foreign countries.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:07 PM   #6
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Our Wells Fargo ATM charges $5 plus 5% for foreign cash withdrawals.
We use a credit union ATM card that gives us full currency value and no charges.
All year long, we use a Capital One Venture Card that pays back 3% and we apply it toward travel. We usually have one free European airfare every year. And all Capital One charge cards do not charge transaction fees and gives you full credit on the currency conversion.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:16 PM   #7
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Use the Sam's Club Master Card. 3% back on travel, no foreign transaction fees.

Maybe they have the hidden screw with exchange rates?

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You will earn 3% Cash Back on Eligible Purchases made at Travel merchants located worldwide (excluding warehouse clubs other than Sam's Club).

Travel merchants are generally merchants identified by their MCC in categories such as airlines, rental cars, hotels, passenger rail travel, bus lines, cruise lines, timeshares, travel agencies, travel sites and tour operators.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:51 PM   #8
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Yep, the Costco card is the best one we have for domestic transactions, but for foreign travel we use a Wells Fargo or Amazon card with no fees, and a credit union ATM card for cash.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:07 AM   #9
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Booked a bunch of travel with the Costco Citi Visa since it has 3% cash back for travel. They took it back with an offsetting 3% FTF fee. Just a heads up. I should have read the fine print.
Yeah, I only use it for domestic travel expenses. I use the Bank of America Travel Rewards or First Tech Odyssey MasterCard for foreign travel expenses. These both offer cash/credit back rewards plus no foreign transaction fees.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:08 AM   #10
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Use the Sam's Club Master Card. 3% back on travel, no foreign transaction fees.

Maybe they have the hidden screw with exchange rates?
Should be standard MasterCard exchange rate, so don't worry about that - at least not compared to other MasterCards
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:28 AM   #11
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Yeah, sometimes you don't know till you actually use it. My Fidelity Visa charges 1% (well, there goes half my 2% cash back). Fortunately on my last trip, the 2 major chunks- airfare and Airbnb- were charged in $US.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:38 AM   #12
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Beware that many organizations will offer to bill you in your home currency. They will add a convenience fee that is always > 2.5%. So ask for their local price.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:50 AM   #13
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Beware that many organizations will offer to bill you in your home currency. They will add a convenience fee that is always > 2.5%. So ask for their local price.
+1

In addition, the exchange rate they bill at will not be as good as the exchange rate you get from the card. When I did this earlier this year at a hotel in China and chose the yuan, it saved us close to $200 on a $2000 bill.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:59 AM   #14
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Our choices:

Chase Sapphire Visa Preferred: 3% back on travel, NTF, good exchange rates

Schwab debit: for cash, they refund any ATM charges, good exchange rates

Secondary cards:
Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa

First Tech debit: was told they do not refund ATM charges
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:02 AM   #15
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Beware that many organizations will offer to bill you in your home currency. They will add a convenience fee that is always > 2.5%. So ask for their local price.
+2

On this. The local business is making the profit on the unfavourable exchange rate rather than the credit card company making it. Last week, I was very surprised that a clerk in Hamley's in London asked me if I wanted to be charged in CAD. No thank you very much!
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:11 PM   #16
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We use an Amazon Visa which gives spot exchange rates for almost all of the world's currencies. Those it doesn't, you probably won't want to be visiting. It does charge $5 or 1% fee on ATM withdrawals (whichever is more) in foreign countries.
I have an Amazon Chase Visa card. They changed it to 0% FTF in the last year or so (yeah!). But you mention ATM withdrawals ... how does that work? I thought it was just a credit card and I don't have a pin for it, to my knowledge.
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Old 08-19-2017, 04:16 PM   #17
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I have an Amazon Chase Visa card. They changed it to 0% FTF in the last year or so (yeah!). But you mention ATM withdrawals ... how does that work? I thought it was just a credit card and I don't have a pin for it, to my knowledge.
I think you could arrange to have a pin for your CC but there would be fees so this is not the recommended way to get cash. Best to use a low/no fee debit card.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:47 PM   #18
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We use a Chase Visa with FX admin fees. Just did a foreign purchase last week. The exchange rate on the settlement date equaled the rate on FX.com to the fourth decimal. The slight differences were probably attributable to time.

We always ask to be billed in the local currency. The only exception is some airlines. They often have extremely attractive conversion rates.

Asking if we wished to be billed in our home currency seems to be very common in FLL and MIA. And Avis does it every time unless we check....and I cannot seem to get this fixed on my avis preferred account.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:43 PM   #19
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I have an Amazon Chase Visa card. They changed it to 0% FTF in the last year or so (yeah!). But you mention ATM withdrawals ... how does that work? I thought it was just a credit card and I don't have a pin for it, to my knowledge.
We originally got the card when DS went to Australia to work. The idea is to put money into the account and then withdraw as a cash advance. There is a 1% charge to withdraw at an ATM but no FOREX charge. This is better than the bank exchange rate when using a debit card with no transaction fee.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:48 AM   #20
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We originally got the card when DS went to Australia to work. The idea is to put money into the account and then withdraw as a cash advance. There is a 1% charge to withdraw at an ATM but no FOREX charge. This is better than the bank exchange rate when using a debit card with no transaction fee.

For cash, I'd recommend the Schwab Debit Card. You can open an investor checking account with them and don't need to have any other accounts funded. Their debit card charges 0% foreign exchange fees and they reimburse you for any ATM fees. Works great.
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